Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

BREAKING: Thomas Vanek Signs With Minnesota Wild

Vanek Watch has come to an end just a few hours into the 2014 free agency period. The Minnesota Wild have signed Thomas Vanek to a three-year contract estimated at a $6.5 million cap hit.

The signing looks very good for GM Chuck Fletcher with Vanek turning down longer and more lucrative contracts elsewhere to come play in Minnesota, where he lives in the off-season and played college hockey. He also has a strong relationship with former Sabre teammate Jason Pominville and former Gopher teammate Keith Ballard.

Fletcher commented on the signing saying, “Thomas is an elite offensive talent who showed a strong desire to play in Minnesota.”

Vanek commented to Sportsnet, “It doesn’t get much better for me right now; in the end, we made it work. What’s more exciting is how good the team is…It’s a team that is very deep, and I know I can add to that.”

Vanek brings a lot of offense to the Wild. He’s strong on the power play and has amassed 277 goals and 279 assists over the span of his nine season career. He’s a two-time 40-goal scorer and will be an exciting addition to the top 6 in Minnesota.

There will be lots more here at Gone Puck Wild in the coming days, but suffice to say for the second time in three off-seasons, it looks like the Wild have landed the big fish in the pond.

The Wild have improved greatly over the last 24 hours with the Vanek signing. They also signed a two-way contract with Brett Sutter.

One last note. How about these lines:

What do you think? What do you think the opening night lines will look like?

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Tags: Free Agency Minnesota Wild Thomas Vanek

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